There’s been a lot of anger in the online handmade community over the last 24 hours stemming from an update to Folksy‘s rules (which you can find here). I think the main problem is there are a lot of vague areas between their interpretation of handmade vs hand assembled, of which I asked to give my opinion and was granted the opportunity. I have pasted below what I wrote and hopefully I should get a reply soon. It’s not the most eloquent piece of writing but I think it gets the point across how you must absolutely word things spot on otherwise any ambiguity can seriously damage your reputation and upset a lot of people.
Because of this, several people on Facebook and Twitter have closed their Folksy shops. My personal opinion is this is a premature action as a lot of those shops were operating within what I suspect the rules were trying to say, and some people will just not have read everything properly before jumping on the bandwagon with their fire and pitchforks, as is the case in any conflict humans tend to find themselves in!
Anyway, here’s my e-mail, please let me know your thoughts in a comment if you’d like to and you can always contact Folksy with your opinions on their email@example.com e-mail address.
“In order to sell your item on Folksy, your item must be made to your own design, or by the use of a pattern or clip art licensed for commercial use. You cannot sell a design that has been copied from someone else without their explicit permission to do so in accordance with UK copyright law. Your item must be “handmade”, and NOT simply “hand assembled”. At Folksy, “hand assembled” applies to any item that is made by attaching two mass produced components together, for example stringing a charm onto a chain, or gluing a button to a ring blank or notecard and selling as a finished piece of work. A “handmade” item would take a minimum of five minutes to make and contain elements of design, personality or skill from the crafter, for example a rubber stamped greetings card would show understanding of layout or a beaded necklace would show colour co-ordination.”
Even then, I’d get people on the forum or as blog comments to see whether I am on the mark here or not, I may be missing something massively obvious but I really don’t think it needs to be complicated!
Also I think it is quite difficult to enforce the use of licensed clipart, patterns released for reproduction, etc and that some leeway should be made from Folksy to allow these sorts of works that are not violating any copyright laws or plagarising anyone else’s designs. I think you might have hinted that this is OK but it is not clear enough when you mention “this item may not be made by you” in the current rules but I think it could be read differently by different people so I have altered that bit too.
James at Folksy has just replied so I have put his response below- I would have hoped for something a bit more detailed since I wrote at length (I am usually so concise!) but never mind…
Subject: Wording of new rule – as discussed on Twitter!
Thank you for your reply and for taking time to think about this.
We do understand that the terms are not as definite as people would like, however, craft and ‘handmade’ are not easy to define. We’ve taken on board your points about being more specific and including examples and will look to review our terms again in the coming hours and days to try and improve them.
James @ Folksy